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Mamiya 7 and Graduate Filters


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Does anyone out there have experience using graduated filters with rangefinder cameras? I do a lot of backpacking in wilderness areas, and would love to get a Mamiya 7 to carry, for obvious reasons. However, when shooting landscapes in the High Sierras, I find my Singh Ray ND grads indispensible. Any tips on using graduated filers with this camera? If I have to carry the weight and bulk of an SLR, I'll probably get a 4x5 field camera and a 6x7 back for chromes.
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  • 3 weeks later...

I use the Mamiya 7 with 65 and 150 lenses, and I do occasionally use

a graduate grey filter. I use Cokin P filters which aren't the best quality probably, but they do have a reasonable graduation rather than a sudden change from the grey part to the clear part of the filter.

This is important as a filter with a gradual change will be more forgiving if you place it slightly wrongly! I estimate where the filter needs to go based on the proportion of the scene I want covered by the grey area. Obviously if you want the grey area to cover from the middle of the scene upwards it's easy to place the filter, but other positions take a bit of trial and error. I also use a ploarising filter on this camera with good results.

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  • 2 weeks later...





I am currently using a Yashica Mat 124G for landscape photography.

My polarizing filter has a dot painted on the outer ring. I simply

look (and meter) through the filter, mentally note the location of

the dot, and make sure I hold the filter in the same orientation when

taking the picture. Seems to work quite well, as I have had no

unexpected results on my slides.





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  • 2 months later...

Hi Laurent Martrhes




I own also a Fuji GA-645 and use a LINIAIR pol filter as follow




>>>> Put a POLAROID sun-glass on your nose !!!!! <<<<<<




Look strait right in the lens from your camera , and turn the polfilter

until your lens looks "black", means licht is blocked out by you

sun-glass + the polfilter





so, if you want a VERTICAL polarized picture,

hold your camera for horizontal format

and turn the pol filter until your lens is "black"





if you want a Horizontal polarized picture,

hold your camera for vertical format

and turn the pol filter until your lens is "black"




The polarisation effect is now the same as you normal see trouch your polaroid sun-glass on you nose.




This works fine especial if you think about the filter factor

it is + 2.5 exposure compensation.




I hope this wil help you. groeten Gertjan Hekelaar

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  • 1 year later...

There is a twofold problem with the recommendation of using polarized sunglasses to assist in orientation of the polarizing filter: First, you really should determine the orientation of the sunglass lenses before proceeding. Many sunglass makers have the right and left lenses at 90-degrees off-axis to each other. Second, even if you know the orientation of your sunglasses, you don't necessarily want a perfectly vertical or horizontal polarization of the scene you are photographing.


It's much better just to sight through the handheld polarizer to measure its affect directly. Take note of its rotation index (usually a small white dot on the bezel) and replicate that orientation after threading the polarizer onto your lens.


Polarizers have their greatest effect on subjects that are 90-degrees to either side of the sun and the least effect at 0 and 180-degrees to the sun. With practice you can adjust exposure compensation accordingly, varying between +0.5 and +1.5 stops as you go from 180 to 90 degrees, for example.


On using graduated filters (Quoting an article I posted in rec.photo.equipment.misc on 1999/02/01):


When is a graduated ND filter not really a graduated ND filter? When it's really a split ND filter with a transition gradient.


Singh-Ray sells rectangular 84mm by 120mm resin filters that they call graduated ND filters. B+W makes traditional, round glass filters that they call graduated ND filters. They have less in common than you might think.


Many would agree that the rectangular graduated ND filters are superior to the round graduated ND filters because the transition edge can easily be positioned relative to the subject, as seen in camera. It is argued that a round filter can only be rotated and thus can only be used when a 50/50 placement of the horizon is wanted.


This may not be original thinking, but I haven't seen it discussed elsewhere. I've recently discovered that where Singh-Ray's so-called graduated ND filters are graduated only at the waist, in a soft or hard-edge gradient, and the remainder of the filter, above this transition zone, is not graduated at all, but uniform in density, the aforementioned B+W filters are truly graduated filters. They smoothly transition from maximum density to clear as you go from the edge of the filter, at 12 o'clock, to the waistline.


This puts a considerable dent in the argument against round graduated ND filters. Their transition is so smooth; there just isn't any need to worry about placement.


I think the lust for contrast control has dulled our sensibilities. I am amazed that an image like that shown on the right, at the following URL, is not only found acceptable by its creator, Galen Rowell, it has been chosen by Singh-Ray as a prime example of the benefits of using their so-called graduated ND filter (really a split ND.) The hilltops in the middle ground are obviously darkened in a way that I find very unappealing. Yuck!




This image doesn't work because the horizon was not a straightedge. How often is it? I've lost track of the number of times I've seen similar images where foreground trees have suddenly darkened trunks and foliage where they stick up above the horizon. Lovely. Do you find that acceptable?


I think any thing you do to improve nature is best done in moderation and the truly graduated filters fit the bill nicely. Without side-by-side comparison, it is next to impossible to detect their use when looking at the final results. Yes, they don't achieve the same effect as a split ND filter, but there is no risk of blackened hilltops or two-toned trees, either. And contrary to the popular argument, it is perfectly OK that they can only be rotated. In addition to having much more finesse, they are more scratch resistant, easier to clean and arguably superior in optical quality.


If I have wetted your appetite for true gradient filters, remember this. You can't buy a single, large filter and mount it to various lenses using step-up rings. These filters must only be large enough to just avoid vignetting the corners of the image. If you were to mount a 72mm 2-stop graduated ND filter on a 49mm lens, for example, rotating the filter so that its greatest density is at 12 o'clock, the top of your image might only exploit a 1-stop attenuation, because it isn't looking through the densest part of the filter. Remember too that a telephoto isn't going to use as much of the filter as a wide angle, especially when stopped down -- this is a good reason to carry some of the heavier densities.


These filters can easily be oriented correctly for use on rangefinders.

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